Cooking with Renu #2

Coconut Chutney (South Indian)

1 small coconut, meat removed

1 tsp. Salt

1 green chili

Put all together in the processor and start grinding, dry…. no water. Grade thoroughly not adding water until you must to keep going. Gradually add a bit of water, still staying mostly dry. When it comes together as a paste, add a bit more water.

1 TBLS oil

1 dried red chili, broken into pieces

1 tsp. Urad dal

12 curry leaves

1;tsp. Mustard seeds

Now heat oil to hot. Add in quick succession dal, pepper, curry leaves, mustard seeds. Do not let dal get dark. Lift pan off heat if dal browns too quickly. It should be light brown. This should take only seconds, so have your spices ready. Pour this spice mixture over the chutney. Mix now or mix later.

Khatta Meethi Baigar ( sweet and sour eggplant ) ( North Indian)

4 small hard egg plants

1/4 tsp. Oil

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Fennel seeds

1tsp.  Coriander powder

1/2 tsp. Turmeric powder

1 Tbls. Tamarind paste

25 grams jaggery

In a small bowl, put the oil and mix all the spices into it, making a paste. Slit eggplants into pieces vertically from the bottom without cutting through the top and stem. Rub the spice mixture into the cut sections of the eggplant.

Mix the tamarind paste into a bit of water to form a thick syrupy liquid. Add water to the jaggery and let sit.

2 Tbls. Oil

Asafetida, a sprinkle

1/2 tsp. Nigella seeds (black onion seed)

1 Tbls. Water

Heat oil to hot , sprinkle in asafetida. Add seeds and let them pop. Add 1 T. water and then the eggplants.  Cook gently over low heat until eggplants are almost entirely soft. Add the tamarind syrup and the jaggery and it’s liquid. Bring to a boil and cook it until the sauce is thick. About 5 minutes. Cover and let sit until ready to serve.

Rawa Idli (South Indian)

2 cups water, room temperature

2 cups semolina

3 Tbls. Yoghurt

Soak semolina in the water and yoghurt for several hours.

Seasoning ingredients

12 or more curry leaves

2 dried red  chilis

1 tsp. Mustard seeds

1 tsp. Urad dal, white

1 tsp.salt

2 tsp. Eno ( 1 tsp. Bicarbonate of soda mixed with 1 tsp. Of citric acid)

Put the salt into the semolina mixture. It should be a sloppy loose mixture. Add the Eno powder (or the bicarbonate and Citric acid mix) and stir it in. This makes the mix a bit fluffy.

Heat the seasonings

Put 1/2 Tbls. oil in the pan and heat to hot. Add,  in order:  lentils, then chili, then leaves, then mustard seeds. Toss the pan a bit. So the spices don’t burn, then pour them out onto the semolina mixture and stir.

Brush a bit of oil onto the idli forms. Spoon mixture into the forms, stack them and steam gently for about 12minutes.

Note:  This batter can be kept in the fridge for a week or more if you withhold the Eno powder / bicarbonate-citric acid. Add that just before cooking. To turn this batter into a dosa batter, thin it with a bit of water.

Paratha stuffed with carrot / cauliflower ( North Indian)

200 grams flour

1 tsp. Salt

Water to mix

2 medium carrots, grated

2 large florets of cauliflower, crumbled fine or chopped

First mix the dough, knead it minimally and leave it to rest, covered.

Put carrots and cauliflower in two separate bowls. On top of each, put

1/4 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Fennel seeds

Pinch of asafetida

One green chili. Dry finely chopped

1 Tbls. Chopped cilantro

1/4tsp. Chili powder

Stir up the cauliflower mixture. Do NOT stir up the carrots mixture until ready to cook. Let it sit awhile, then stir the salt and spices just before cooking.(Otherwise the salt will force liquid out of the carrots. )

When ready to cook, divide dough into golf ball sized balls and roll them out to 1/8 inch thick. Put 2 Tbls. of cauliflower or carrot into the center and gather the dough up around the filling like a pouch. Flatten the pouches with the help of a bit of flour and roll out again.

Toast the paratha on a hot griddle or skillet on one side until browned spots show. Flip it, drizzle with oil, look for slight browning and then flip it again and again drizzle with oil. Take it off the flame.

credit: Renu Kumar

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